Thursday, May 28, 2009

NARA: Rare Lincoln letter donated to archives

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: This was just received from our friends at the National Archives (US). Please address all inquiries to Public.Affairs@nara.gov.

May 28, 2009

National Archives Announces Homecoming of Long-Lost Lincoln Letter Private Collector Lawrence Cutler Donates Original Lincoln Letter to Archives

Washington, D.C. . . . In a press conference today, the National Archives announced the homecoming of an original Abraham Lincoln hand-written letter to Secretary of Treasury Salmon P. Chase. Lawrence M. Cutler, a private collector from Scottsdale, Arizona, donated the letter to the National Archives.

Written on Executive Mansion letterhead, the November 14, 1863, letter states:
Hon. Sec. of Treasury
My dear Sir
Mr. Stevens, late Superintendent of the Mint at San Francisco, asks to have a copy, or be permitted to examine, and take extracts, of the evidence upon which he was removed. Please oblige him in one way or the other.
Yours truly, A. Lincoln.

In presenting the Lincoln letter to Acting Archivist Adrienne Thomas, Mr. Cutler said, "It is both a great honor and a pleasure for me to give this very important Abraham Lincoln letter back to the citizens of the United States of America, especially during this bicentennial year of Lincoln's birth. It may always remain a mystery as to how this letter left the public domain and has remained in private hands for as much as a century. However, what is more significant is that today I am returning this letter to its long lost home."

"The National Archives is pleased to accept this important gift, the return of President Lincoln's November 14, 1863, letter to Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase" said Acting Archivist Thomas. "This brief note, written five days before President Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address, provides us with a window to look at a difficult personal crisis faced by Lincoln in the midst of the Civil War," she continued.

The National Archives became aware of the existence of this Lincoln hand-written letter in 2006. Because the letter was written from the President to the Secretary of Treasury concerning a federal government matter, the National Archives launched an internal review to determine whether the document belonged in the National Archives.

The investigation revealed that at one time the letter was part of the General Records of the Department of Treasury, series 82 "Letters Received from Executive Officers, 1831-1869". These included 141 volumes in which original letters were bound. According to the index to Volume 91, the letter should have been on page five. Upon examination of page five, it was discovered that only half of the page remained pasted into the volume---it included a one sentence summary of the letter, the date, and the author of the letter. The body of the letter was missing.

In part, the newly-found Lincoln letter is significant because the information in it was not known to Lincoln scholars or historians. The multi-volume Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln by Roy P. Basler, published in the 1950's, does not include a copy of this letter. Although it is unclear exactly when the letter fragment was torn from the Department of Treasury volume, it appears that it predates Basler's publication and may have happened when the volume was still at the Department of Treasury, sometime between the 1880's when the letters were bound and the 1940's when the records were transferred to the Archives.

Recently, the National Archives Document Conservation Laboratory examined the two parts of the letter with normal and transmitted light, ultraviolet lamp and stereo-binocular microscope. The letter and half folio were found to be identical in visual appearance. Both are on soft tan, medium-weight, smooth machine-made wove paper of even and identical formation. Both letter and half folio were measured with a micrometer and have the identical thickness of .012 millimeters. The one physical difference noted was the unevenly trimmed bottom edge of the letter. It appears approximately *" to ¼" of the sheet is missing; otherwise the overall dimensions (5" x 8") are identical.

When the folio was torn along its fold, small portions of the upper most layers of the paper support were torn, leaving behind matching indentations known as "beveled" or "shelved" areas. The small portions of the support that remain attached along the folio fold exactly match the shelved areas on the remaining folio half adhered in the volume.

Background
At the end of March 1861, President Lincoln had approved the appointment of Robert Stevens as head of the U.S. Mint in San Francisco. The President had appointed Stevens to the patronage job as a favor to Lincoln's old friend, Oregon Senator Edward Baker. Stevens was Baker's son-in-law. Baker, a fellow Republican, died in battle in 1861.

In 1863 Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase announced changes in the Customhouse and Mint, based on a report by special agent Thomas Brown who was sent to investigate Federal services in California.

The report listed six charges against Stevens:

1. The hiring of bad men
2. Encouragement of insubordination and contempt for authority on the part of workers
3. Partiality as to the wages of clerks and laborers while others' were fixed much lower
4. "Sponges and barnacles" - many were absent without working but were still highly-paid
5. Purchase of inferior supplies at exorbitant rates
6. Being arrogant and discourteous to his managers

Based on these charges, Stevens was fired by Secretary Chase in April, 1863. For months following his removal, Stevens protested the firing, finally resorting to writing to President Lincoln.

The newly returned letter indicates that while Lincoln was not willing to override Chase's decision, he did feel that Stevens deserved to see the charges against him. It emphasizes the President's sense of fair-play and moral authority which served as a guide throughout his Presidency.

Ancestry.com: 27 May update

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was received from our friends at Ancestry.com. Please address all inquiries to support@Ancestry.com.

May has been an exciting month of milestones at Ancestry.com:
  • We have added more than 8 billion records on Ancestry.com.
  • Ancestry.com members have added more than 1 billion people to more than 10 million family trees on Ancestry.com. (Read more about this achievement in the press release.)

Ancestry.com Content

New Ancestry.com Content
German Phone Directories 1915-1981 -- This unique collection of books contains more than 35 million people who lived in major German cities during the 20th century. Some of the interesting finds in this collection include phone numbers for Albert Einstein, Marlene Dietrich, and Kaiser Friedrich Wilhelm Viktor Albert von Preußen (and others). Gary Gibb, the Vice President of Content, gives further details here.

Alabama State Census -- This collection is the second completed World Archives Project collection to be made available to the public. As with all completed World Archives Projects, the Alabama State Census index is viewable free of charge. Chris Lydiksen, the Product Manager for U.S. content, provides additional facts here.

Other Content:
- African Americans in Delaware, 1890 U.S. Census
- U.S. Casualties From Iraq and Afghanistan Conflicts, Oct 2001 - Mar 2009
- Returns from U.S. Military Posts, 1800-1916 (World Archives Project)
- Border Crossings: From U.S. to Canada, 1908-1935
- Lübeck, Germany, Marriage Banns, 1871-1875 (in German) - Free Index
- Lübeck, Germany, Births, 1813-1875 (in German)
- Lübeck, Germany, Deaths, 1813-1875 (in German)
- Lübeck, Germany, Marriage Banns, 1813-1871 (in German)
- Lübeck, Germany Citizenship Register, 1591-1930 (in German)

You can view the full list of recently added databases, extending back a couple of months, at http://www.ancestry.com/search/rectype/recent.aspx.


Content Updates from Gary Gibb, VP U.S. Content
New Ancestry.com Content Tops 8 Billion Records

In May we passed the 8 billion records mark for content on Ancestry.com. Here is the latest count of images and records by categories we use at Ancestry.com

Titles
Images
Records

Birth, Marriage & Death
38.9 M
1,100 M

Census & Voter Lists
27.7 M
900 M

Court/Land/Probate
3.4 M
12 M

Directories & Member Lists
7.6 M
2,100 M

Family Trees
0 M
1,400 M

Immigration & Emigration
31.6 M
180 M

Military
80.6 M
125 M

Newspapers & Periodicals
42.5 M
2,400 M

Pictures, Maps & References
2.1 M
32 M

Stories, Memories & Histories
6.1 M
105 M

TOTAL
240 Million Images
8.3 Billion Records


Content Coming Soon
Some of the Collections Coming soon to Ancestry.com:

  • WWII Draft Registration Cards
    Expected Launch: Just launched
    Est. Name Count: 450k Est. Image Count: 2m Description: Adding draft cards for the state of Illinois. This is more of the Fourth Registration or "Old Man's Draft."
  • Alabama State Census, 1820, 1850, 1855, 1866
    Expected Launch: Just launchedEst. Name Count: 1.8m Est. Image Count: 61k Description: This is a World Archives Project. Four census years, three before the Civil War, one just after.
  • 1890 Census Improved
    Expected Launch: Next week (end of May)Est. Name Count: 6,000Est. Image Count: 2,400Description: First in series of monthly census updates. By the end of the year we will have 1790 to 1900 updated.
  • Addition of over 50 cities added to the U.S. Historical Newspapers Collection
    Expected Launch: Next week (end of May)Est. Name Count: 100’s of MillionsEst. Image Count: Over 5 MillionDescription: Papers from over 50 new cities will be added. The full-text index and Advanced Image Viewer deliver highlighted search hits on every page.
  • Multiple Canadian Census Years
    Expected Launch: June
    Description: If you have Canadian roots you are going to love June.
    Early City Directories
    Expected Launch: June
    Est. Name Count: 10 millionEst. Image Count: 280,000 Description: A large collection of city directories many before the 1850’s. This is a great historic collection that can complement and in many cases actually augment your census research.
  • Fun School Yearbooks
    Expected Launch: June
    Est. Name Count: 2 millionEst. Image Count: 266,000 Description: A large addition to our school yearbooks collection. Finding an ancestor in these books not only reveals fun pictures, they also often tell a story about their life, their times and their friends.

Website and Product Information

  • Family Tree Maker
    We released a small update for Family Tree Maker 2009 that resolved a handful of issues reported by our customers. Family Tree Maker 2010 is now in Alpha Testing, and will soon enter Beta.
  • MyCanvas (the Publish button on the Ancestry.com homepage)
    Within the next week MyCanvas will launch Descendant posters as a new option under the product category “Family Tree Posters.” Users will be able to create a poster that will populate 3 or 4 generations of descendants, including the selected starting person. Posters will be available in 3 different sizes: 20”x16”, 24”x18” and 36”x24”.

    Some of the new features we’ve added to MyCanvas over the last month include:
    The layout tab – This tab allows users to change the selected page layout and will automatically format photos to the new layout.
    Swapping images on a page
    New backgrounds under “life style” that include different careers such as mechanic, construction worker, logger, miner and more.
  • Ancestry.com DNA
    The Ancestry.com DNA team has recently added a new step-by-step guide to Ancestry.com DNA results. The easy-to-use guide walks users through each page of the website and describes how to contact and collaborate with potential matches; view and print a full multi-page explanatory report of DNA results; discover fun facts about fellow ancient ancestral “cousins;” attach DNA results to online family trees; view, join, and/or request membership into a DNA Group; and obtain results of someone for whom a user has purchased testing. “A Guide to your Ancestry.com DNA Test Results” is available in PDF format to users who are logged in to Ancestry.com DNA.
  • Free Webinars
    Coming Soon!
    June 16, 2009 – Getting Started on Ancestry.com
    New to Ancestry.com? Long-term genealogist and author of the Ancestry Weekly Discovery, Juliana Smith, will help you find your first family member on a historical record. Note: This webinar is intended for those who are new to Ancestry.com but can also be used as a refresher course for more experienced users. Register online.
  • Archived Webinars
    - Military Records on Ancestry.com
    - Planning a Perfect Family Reunion
    - Ancestry.com Town Hall Meeting
    - Creative Gift Ides for Dads and Grads

    Note: To register for a webinar or view an archived webinar, click on the Learning Center tab on the Ancestry.com home page. Then Keep Learning and, finally, webinars. http://learn.ancestry.com/LearnMore/Webinars.aspx

Product Updates from Eric Shoup, VP Product
Recent launches:

  • LifeSpan filtering
    o We launched Lifespan filtering in Search about a month ago. This was the top request from our members on algorithm modifications to make.
    o Lifespan modified our algorithms to only include structured records that are within an ancestor's lifetime. If the entire lifespan is not given, we default to 100 years as the ancestor’s lifespan. The new algorithm aims to reduce the number of irrelevant results that come back as the result of a search – thereby making searching easier.
    o See the original blog posts here:
    § http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2009/04/28/more-relevant-search-results-are-coming-this-wednesday/
    § http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2009/05/05/latest-on-lifespan-filtering/
    o These blog posts garnered a lot of feedback from our customers – both positive and negative. Much of the feedback on the blog was unrelated to Lifespan but about our Search capability more generally. The feedback on Lifespan specifically has been fairly positive:
    § When announced at APG meeting, the Search team received applause.
    § We received some of the most favorable comments that we have received in the last nine months on any blog post.
    o That said, LifeSpan has also caused some confusion:
    § Some members thought that in rolling this out, we were making them migrate to New Search. This is not true. Lifespan is available in both New and Old Search.
    § Some members were confused by the "fudge" factor that we include around a user’s entered search dates. Users were concerned that this impacted “exact” searches when it does not.
  • New Navigation
    o We rolled out a new header and footer this week. The goal is to create a more consistent, predictable navigation structure that:
    1. Enables users to be a click or two away from major site features
    2. Provides persistent access to key site-level tools like To-Dos & Shoebox
    o Read more in the Ancestry.com blog here: http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2009/05/27/new-site-navigation
  • Upcoming launches
    · Improvements to the Member Tree System: Our Member Tree system has grown quickly since its inception just about 3 years ago. We now have over 10MM trees online and 1 billion people represented in those trees. We will be making improvements on the tree system over the coming months to prepare it for its next stage of growth. In June, we will be previewing 2 such improvements with launches planned for a little later in Summer:

    1. Redesigned Person Page: We are re-building this page from the bottom up to incorporate a number of improvements. Here is a summary of the changes:
    § Context is preserved across pages related to person: Tabs across the top of the page make it easier to access sources, photos, stories, comments, hints and more. General information about the person you are viewing will remain consistent at the top of the page making is easier to always know exactly where you are.
    § Stronger focus on sources: We have moved the “Historical Records” higher on the page. And also the new "Facts & Sources" tab makes it easy to see what facts and events a person has, and what evidence supports those facts.
    § Re-built for speed & performance: We've completely rebuilt it from the ground up. It's faster than ever to load and navigate around your tree.

    2. Tree Viewer: The new tree viewer is being built to be more interactive. By enabling you to drag, pan and zoom, it will be easier to navigate through your tree. This will help you get where you want to go more quickly.

FamilySearch.org: 27 May update

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was received from our friends at FamilySearch.org. Please address all inquiries to support@FamilySearch.org.

27 May 2009

Overview

Eleven new indexing projects were added this week—most international (Argentina, Canada, and France). Five of the projects are birth, marriage, and death records for France. Please forward this update to any organizations or individuals that might be interested in helping create indexes to these or other FamilySearch indexing projects.


New indexing projects added this week are:
· Argentina Censo 1869—Jujuy Salta Tucuman
· Canada, British Columbia Births, 1854–1903
· France, Paroisses de Cherbourg, 1802–1907
· France, Paroisses de Saint-Lo, 1802–1907
· France, Paroisses de Coutances, 1802–1907
· France Registres Protestants, 1612–1906 [Part 1]
· France Registres Protestants, 1612–1906 [Part 2]
· Indiana, Blackford County Marriages 1811–1959
· North Dakota—1920 U.S. Federal Census
· Ohio Tax Records—3 of 4, Post 1825
· South Carolina—1920 U.S. Federal Census
(See the chart below for a complete list and current status of all indexing projects).

Recently Completed Projects
(Note: Recently completed projects have been removed from the available online indexing batches and will now go through a final completion check process in preparation for future publication.)
· Argentina Censo 1869—Catamarca y La Rioja
· Minnesota—1920 U.S. Federal Census
· Minnesota Probate Court Wills 1849–1918
Current FamilySearch Indexing Projects, Record Language, and Percent Completion

Argentina, Buenos Aires 1855 Census
Spanish
28%
Argentina Censo 1869—Corrientes y Entre Rios
Spanish
87%
Argentina Censo 1869—Jujuy Salta Tucuman
Spanish
(New)
Arkansas County Marriages V, 1837–1957
English
93%
Arkansas County Marriages VI, 1837–1957
English
15%
Austria, Wiener Meldezettel, 1890–1925
German
1%
Belgium, Antwerp Foreigners Index, 1840–1930
Dutch, Flemish
36%
Brandenburg Kirchenbücher, 1789–1875
German
61%*
Canada, British Columbia Births, 1854–1903
English
(New)
France Registres Protestants, 1612–1906 [Part 1]
French
(New)
France Registres Protestants, 1612–1906 [Part 2]
French
(New)
France, Coutances, Paroisses de la Manche, 1792–1906
French
9%
France, Paroisses de Cherbourg, 1802–1907
French
(New)
France, Paroisses de Coutances, 1802–1907
French
(New)
France, Paroisses de Saint-Lo, 1802–1907
French
(New)
Germany, Mecklenburg 1890 Volkszählung, Div 24–38
German
12%
Illinois, Cook County Birth Certificates, 1916–1922 [Part 1]
English
83%
Indiana, Adams County Marriages, 1811–1959
English
3%
Indiana, Allen County Marriages, 1811–1959
English
4%
Indiana, Blackford County Marriages 1811–1959
English
24%
Italy, Trento Baptism Records, 1784–1924
Italian
75%
Mexico, Censo de 1930—Sinaloa
Spanish
95%
Mexico, Censo de 1930—Tamaulipas
Spanish
54%
Mexico, Censo de 1930—Yucatan
Spanish
16%
Mississippi—1920 U.S. Federal Census
English
67%
New York 1905 State Census
English
13%
Nicaragua, Managua Civil Records, 1879–Present
Spanish
44%*
North Dakota—1920 U.S. Federal Census
English
(New)
Peru, Lima—Registros Civiles, 1910–1930
Spanish
24%
Russia, St. Petersburg Kirchenbuchduplikat, 1833–1885
German
1%
South Carolina—1920 U.S. Federal Census
English
(New)
Spain, Avila, Moraleja de Matacabras, 1540–1904
Spanish
19%
Spain, Lugo—Registros Parroquiales [Part 1], 1530–1930
Spanish
18%
U.K., Cheshire—Land Tax, 1778–1832
English
92%
U.K., Warwickshire Parish Registers, 1538–Present
English
1%
Ukraine, Kyiv, 1840–1842
Russian
17%
Venezuela, Mérida Registros Parroquiales. 1654–1992
Spanish
15%*
(*Percentage refers to a specific portion of a larger project.)

Current FamilySearch Partner Projects, Record Language, and Percent Completion

Arkansas Marriages IV, 1837–1957
English
31%
Belgique—Registres Des Décès—En Français, 1796–1910
French
21%*
Belgique— Registres Des Décès—Charleroi, 1851–1900
French
21%
België—Overlijdens Registers—In het Nederlands, 1796–1910
Dutch, Flemish
84%*
België—Overlijdens Registers—Kalmthout, 1851–1900
Dutch, Flemish
17%
België—Overlijdens Registers—Mechelen, 1851–1900
Dutch, Flemish
6%
Bremer Schifflisten, 1904–1914
German
53%
Flanders Death Registration, 1796–1900
French, Dutch, Flemish
79%*
Indiana Marriages, 1882 to April 1905
English
89%
Norway 1875 Census [Part 1]
Norwegian
31%
Nova Scotia, Antigonish Church Records, 1823–1905
English
81%
Ohio Tax Records—2 of 4, Post 1825
English
76%
Ohio Tax Records—3 of 4, Post 1825
English
(New)
Vermont Militia Records, 1861–1867
English
39%
(*Percentage refers to a specific portion of a larger project.)

Current FamilySearch Regional Projects, Record Language, and Percent Completion
(These projects are being indexed by volunteers in specific areas of the world.)

Australia, Sydney Cemetery Inscriptions, 1800–1960
English
4%
Australia—Victoria Probate Records, 1853–1989
English
63%
Canada, British Columbia Marriages, 1859–1932
English
5%
Quebec—Trois-Rivières IC, 1800–1900
French
48%

Friday, May 22, 2009

Jewish research conference 2-7 Aug 2009

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from our friends at the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS). Please address all inquiries to David Mink daminker@aol.com.

OPTIONAL FEE BASE PROGRAMS REGISTRATION ANDSPECIAL RATE FOR PARTICIPANTS UNDER THE AGE OF 21

The 29th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy Program has been updated. Tours and the Film Festival will soon be added. Although the lecture/workshop program is still subject to change, this is a very good representation of the final program, now available for downloading and printing in an alternate and more user friendly PDF format.

In addition to the 9 Breakfasts with Experts, the 9 SIG lunches, the 15 Computer Training Workshops being offered, the Welcome Dinner and the Banquet, we have recently added 2 Special Hands-On Workshops in our list of optional fee based programs.

* Preserving Documents and Photographs Workshop with Laura Hortz Stanton, Director of Preservation Services, Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts and Kim Andrews,Preservation Services Officer, Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts. This workshop will take place on Friday, August 7, from 8:15 AM to 10:15 AM and costs $10.

* Tasting World Jewish Cuisines: Turkish, Syrian, and Ashkenazi-Italkeni Recipes with Sheilah Kaufman and Aliza Green, two accomplished cookbook authors. This workshop will take place on Friday, August 7, from 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM and costs $20.

If you have already registered for the conference, you can easily add one or both of these exciting workshops by going to www.Philly2009.org and clicking on Registration Update. You will need the Login and Password that you received when you registered. Select the "Optional Programs" to add any of the fee based options being offered.

If you have not already registered, please do so now and include those optional programs you want to attend. Registration is very simple. Just go to www.Philly2009.org and click on the Registration button.

Participation in the Computer Training Workshops and the Special Hands-On Workshops is limited. So, don't wait until it is too late to get a space.

We also want to bring to your attention a new registration option recently added: individuals under the age of 21 may register for the entire conference for just $50. We hope you will encourage those you know who are under 21 to register and join us. This is a great opportunity to give your children, grandchildren or other young relatives a taste of the exciting adventures facing genealogists.

We look forward to seeing everyone in Philadelphia!

About the conference:
The 29th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy in Philadelphia, August 2-7, 2009. Co-hosted by the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Philadelphia (JGSGP) and the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS). The conference is expected to draw more than 800 professional and amateur genealogists from around the world (including North America, Israel, Latin America, Eastern Europe, South Africa and Europe). The conference has well over a hundred lectures, workshops and computer classes for attendees to take advantage of extensive resources to help families discover their roots. The conference presents informative programs for both the beginner and experienced genealogists.

The distinguished French priest, author, and humanitarian, Father Patrick Desbois, will be the keynote speaker at the opening session. His speech will be, "The Holocaust by Bullets: A Priest's Journey to Uncover the Truth Behind the Murder of 1.5 million Jews," which is also the title of his book.For more information on the conference and to register, go to: www.philly2009.org.

About IAJGS:
The International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) is an independent non-profit umbrella organization of more than 75 national and local Jewish genealogical societies around the world, formed in the late 1980's to provide a common voice for issues of significance to its members, to advance our genealogical avocation, and to coordinate items such as the annual Jewish Genealogy Conference. For more information go to: www.iajgs.org

For more information please contact:David Mink267-318-7092daminker@aol.com

GenealogyBank: free military records

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from our friends at GenealogyBank.com. Please address all inquiries to thomas.j.kemp@gmail.com. Ol' Myrt had the pleasure of sharing a meal at "The Pit" in Raleigh, North Caorlina with Tom.

Naples, FL May 21, 2009 -- GenealogyBank.com, a leading online provider of newspapers and historical documents for family history research, announced today the release of thousands of U.S. Military records. The historical documents collection at GenealogyBank.com now features over 200 years and millions of U.S. Military records and reports. In honor of Memorial Day, the list of officers that served in the Revolutionary War is now free online at www.genealogybank.com/free/.

This unique content provides critical access to important military records for Americans looking to discover and honor the veterans in their families. U.S. Military Registers from the Army, Navy and Air Force provide the name, birth date, location, rank and date of death of every U.S. military officer that served. Whether your ancestors served in the Korean War or all the way back to the Revolutionary War, the military records found in the historical documents database at GenealogyBank.com provide details you simply can't find anywhere else.

"Memorial Day is a day to stop and reflect on the veterans in our family" says Genealogy Director for NewsBank, Inc., Tom Kemp. "The military records are a perfect example of the unique and valuable content you'll find at GenealogyBank.com and now for a limited time we are making the list of officers that served in the Revolutionary War free at www.genealogybank.com/free."

Military Records aren't the only place to discover new and exciting details about your ancestors at GenelaogyBank.com.

As the fastest growing newspaper site for family history research, GenealogyBank.com also features over 300 years of U.S. newspapers in all 50 states and is an ideal source for exploring the lives of past generations. Find obituaries, marriage notices, photographs, hometown news and more. You'll be amazed at the stories, names, dates, places and events that have played a role in your family history."

GenealogyBank.com will continue to digitize millions of family history records in the upcoming months that will continue to greatly expand and increase the depth of our collections." Kemp added. "We know how exciting this information is to genealogists trying to piece together family records. This is the very reason we are dedicated to providing the most comprehensive and accessible archive for family history research."

About GenealogyBank:
GenealogyBank, a division of NewsBank, inc., supplies individuals interested in family history research with over 3,800 U.S. newspapers from 1690-today, government documents and other historical records in all 50 states. GenealogyBank contains over 263 million family history records including obituaries; birth, marriage and death notices, military records and much more. GenealogyBank can be found at: www.genealogybank.com.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

FamilySearch: 3.5M (Brazil, Czech Republic & Italy)

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from our friends at FamilySearch.org. Please address all inquiries to support@FamilySearch.org.

Thirteen collections were added or updated on the FamilySearch Record Search pilot-over 3.5 million new records. International researchers will be excited to know that collections were added for Brazil, Czech Republic, and Italy.

In the United States, collections were added for Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

These collections can be searched for free at the www.FamilySearch.org Records Search pilot (click Search Records, and then click Record Search pilot).

Special thanks to the FamilySearch volunteers who helped create the 2 million indexed names published this week!

Collection Name Indexed Records Digital Images Comments
  • Brazil Pernambuco Civil Registration 1889-2003 470,743 New - Partial collection (26%), images only
  • Czech Republic, Northern Bohemia, Litom??ice Archive Church Books 1552-1905 54,068 Updated - Additional images and localities added.
  • Czech Republic, Southern Bohemia, Trebon Archive Church Books, 1650-1900 14,646 Updated- Additional images and localities added.
  • Florida Deaths 1877-1939 471,800 0 NewIndiana Marriages, 1811-1959 153,361 0 New - Partial collection (18%).
  • Italy, Palermo Province, Monreale Diocese, Catholic Church Records, 1530-1919 24,705 New
  • Massachusetts State Census, 1855 13,071 Updated - Additional images and localities added.
  • Massachusetts State Census, 1865 2,222 Updated - Additional images and localities added.
  • New York State Census, 1865 35,851 New
  • North Carolina Deaths 1906-1930 615,568 612,154 New - Index linked to images.
  • North Carolina, Davidson County Vital Records, 1867-1984 79,128 New - Marriage and death records only.
  • South Carolina Deaths 1915-1943 636,445 635,098 New-Index linked to images
  • South Carolina Deaths 1944-1955 231,138 0 New

About FamilySearch
FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch has been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at FamilySearch.org or through over 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Canadian Civil Service records

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was received from our friends at FamilyRelatives.com. Please address all inquiries to woods@familyrelatives.com.

FAMILYRELATIVES.COM PRESS ANNOUNCEMENT

Canadian Civil Service salaries published online

The world's largest collection of Canadian Civil Service records is now available on the internet.

Familyrelatives.com today launched over 200,000 Canadian Civil Service records for the period 1872-1918. The fully searchable records offer a fascinating insight into the machinery of government - from the Governor General's office and those employed in Parliament (House of Commons & Senate) to the 10 people in the "Slide and Boom" Service of the Inland Revenue all of whom are meticulously accounted for. The online records reveal the civil servants name, position, department, length of service, salary and date of appointment.

The period covers the early years of the Dominion of Canada from 1872 through to the end of the First World War, When immigration to North America was increasing Canada saw the majority of migrants arriving from Britain and Ireland which accounted for a large proportion of the Government Service Lists. In 1870 this influx reached its highest level.

The earliest Returns detail the origin and creed of those in the civil service. Canadians were described as French or British or even Irish and German but these distinctions eventually disappear.

When Engineers were paid more than Lawyers
Interestingly the highest paid civil servant in 1872 was the Scottish born Sir Sandford Fleming, who was fondly known as the "Inventor of Standard Time" as well as being the founder of the Canadian Institute. The 19th Century was the Age of Steam and the innovator Fleming was the Chief Engineer for the Intercolonial Railway (later to become the Canadian National Railway) who earned $4,800. The importance of Fleming's position is underscored by the fact the Deputy to the Minister of Justice was paid only Canadian $2,600. An Under Secretary of State fared somewhat better with an annual salary of $2,840 - by contrast a labourer earned as little as 70 cents a day, the equivalent of $18.70 today. At that time the average annual wage was $1,695.
In 1872 there were 3,704 civil servants which increased to 8,312 by 1909. The latest figures show that there are now over 454,000 Canadian civil servants.

Included in this online collection are individuals who shaped and transformed the country in those early days. One of these was Richard Burton Deane, an officer and author educated in India and Ipswich (England) who in July 1883 was appointed by the Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald as an inspector in the North-West Mounted Police in July 1883. After the North-West rebellion Deane became responsible for the prisoners, including Louis Riel one of the most controversial figures in Canadian history.

These comprehensive records spanning 47 formative years of Canada's Administration are a vital part of the Dominion's development and the source for family historians whose forebears left Britain for a new life and in many cases reached importance and fame in their adopted country. The collection is available online to all members and by way of an annual subscription of only £30.00 or US$50.00 with other datasets at www.familyrelatives.com

About Familyrelatives.com
Familyrelatives.com is one of the leading and fastest growing websites for researching family history. With over 650 million records available online from countries including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, United States, England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Wales it is helping families research their genealogy.

With many free and easy to use tools which allow the building of online Family Trees and connect with other members, the focus is to provide specialist and historical records to a worldwide audience.

For a full list of records online please visit www.familyrelatives.com.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Civil War Pension files digitization report

From: carol.petranek@verizon.net
DearMYRTLE,
RE: Civil War Pension Files index
I work as a volunteer at the National Archives in Washington DC. Currently, there is a huge digitation process underway, as a joint venture with the National Archives, FamilySearch and Footnote.com to digitize the Civil War pension records. There are currently 4 couples from FamilySearch who are dedicated solely to this project. There are almost 10 million records to be digitized. As records become digitized and then indexed, they will be made available on Footnote.com. I don't know what a projected date to start getting them online would be, but perhaps your contacts at Footnote may know.Thank you for providing a valuable service with your blog.

DearCAROL,
Thanks for the first-hand eye witness report on the number of workers at the National Archives. Ol' Myrt here understands Footnote is also digitizing other records and I've been assured by Paul Nauta at FamilySearch that while the images may reside elsewhere, the indexes will always remain free and available at www.FamilySearch.org.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
DearMYRTLE,
Your friend in genealogy.
Myrt@DearMYRTLE.com

Blogs:
http://blog.dearmyrtle.com
http://blog.teachgenealogy.com
http://blog.internet-genealogy.com

Podcasts:
DearMYRTLE's Family History Hour
http://podcasts.dearmyrtle.com

Family History Expos Genealogy Podcasts
http://fhexpos.libsyn.com

DearMYRTLE's Facebook® Group Message Board
http://www.new.facebook.com/board.php?uid=2960625373

© 2009 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved. This and previous blog entries are fully searchable by going to http://blog.dearmyrtle.com/. Myrt welcomes queries and research challenges, but regrets she is unable to answer each personally.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Civil War Pension Index Cards

From: Jackie
DearMYRTLE,

I just wanted to point out that the CW pension index cards do NOT have images at familysearchlabs, it is ONLY the index. I wish they had images, and [perhaps] they are going to add images in the future they haven't as yet.

DearJACKIE,
Thanks for the clarification.

Labs.FamilySearch.org and its sister site http://pilot.FamilySearch.org have the index (partial abstract) of the index cards currently in a collection titled Civil War Pension Index Cards.

Footnote has over 2.9 million images of the index cards themselves in collection called the Civil War and Later Veterans Pension Index .
“This publication contains index cards for pension applications of veterans who served in the U.S. Army between 1861 and 1917, including wars other than the Civil War. Records are sorted by units within regiments from each state in the Union. Find a soldier by searching on his name or browse by regiment. Learn about his term of service, and use the information to request his pension record.” Source: Footnote.com

From those index cards one makes note of the file numbers so as to order the original document files for application, widow’s pension requests, etc. These original files have only had selected pages microfilmed.

Indeed, it would be a monumental task to digitize the entire collection of the complete pension files. Ol’ Myrt recommends obtaining copies of the entire pension file on each ancestor. I’ve copied these in person, and it can be quite time consuming, but well worth the effort. You’ll probably find supportive affidavits from next of kin or soldiers who served with your ancestor.

My Friend Bertha in Texas had me look at her ancestor’s file, and to ur great surprise it contained the wedding portrait of the soldier and his widow. She had submitted the photo as proof of her relationship to the serviceman.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
DearMYRTLE,
Your friend in genealogy.
Myrt@DearMYRTLE.com

Blogs:
http://blog.dearmyrtle.com
http://blog.teachgenealogy.com
http://blog.internet-genealogy.com

Podcasts:
DearMYRTLE’s Family History Hour
http://podcasts.dearmyrtle.com

Family History Expos Genealogy Podcasts
http://fhexpos.libsyn.com

DearMYRTLE's Facebook® Group Message Board
http://www.new.facebook.com/board.php?uid=2960625373

© 2009 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.This and previous blog entries are fully searchable by going to http://blog.dearmyrtle.com . Myrt welcomes queries and research challenges, but regrets she is unable to answer each personally.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

WolframAlpha: Google & Wikipedia combined?

DearREADERS,
This morning my NGS Conference roommate Luana Darby was talking about the newest internet search tool released today called WolframAlpha. She says CNN is reporting it's debut, and that members of the APG Association of Professional Genealogists mailing list have commented on this new search engine. (Just WHEN will my friends at APG NOT have a comment or two about something? But I digress.)

Among other things, WolframAlpha, developed by Stephen Wolfram, takes statistics in paragraph format on a web page and presents them in graph format.

Ever the diligent genea-blogger, attempting to define new things for her DearREADERS, Ol' Myrt here stumbled across an article posted early this morning titled "WolframAlpha a potential wikipedia killer" by Chris Keal in The National Business Review that further explains
"Cross Google with Wikipedia and you get the new super search tool WolframAlpha. Launching today, it had some embarrassing gaps. But when it’s on form, it’s phenomenal. It’s destined to become one of the 10 or 20 properties on the web."

Let's see what develops.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
DearMYRTLE,Your friend in genealogy.
Myrt@DearMYRTLE.com

Blogs:
http://blog.dearmyrtle.com
http://blog.teachgenealogy.com
http://blog.internet-genealogy.com

Podcasts:
DearMYRTLE’s Family History Hour
http://podcasts.dearmyrtle.com

Family History Expos Genealogy Podcasts
http://fhexpos.libsyn.com

DearMYRTLE's Facebook® Group Message Board
http://www.new.facebook.com/board.php?uid=2960625373

© 2009 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.This and previous blog entries are fully searchable by going to http://blog.dearmyrtle.com . Myrt welcomes queries and research challenges, but regrets she is unable to answer each personally.

Friday, May 15, 2009

FamilySearch: Southern US records

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was received from our friends at FamilySearch. Please address all inquiries to support@FamilySearch.org .

14 May 2009
Millions of Historic Southern Records Now on the Web

SALT LAKE CITY-FamilySearch announced today it has published millions of records from Southern states to its rapidly growing, free online collection. The collection includes both digital images and indexes. Millions of death records from North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida were the most recent additions. Viewers can search the free collection on the Record Search pilot at FamilySearch.org (click Search Records, and then click Record Search pilot).

In the past 18 months, FamilySearch has been diligently publishing digital images and indexes from Southern states. It is part of a worldwide initiative to provide fast, economical access to genealogical records. Fueled by over 100,000 online volunteers, FamilySearch is digitizing and indexing historical records and publishing them online.

The most recent additions are from the following collections:
  • Alabama Statewide Deaths 1908 to 1974 (Index)
  • Arkansas County Marriages: 1837 to 1957
  • Civil War Pension Index Cards (Digital Images)
  • Florida Deaths 1877 to 1939 (Index)
  • Florida State Censuses: 1855, 1935, 1945 (Digital Images)
  • Freedman Bank Records: 1865 to 1874
  • Freedman's Bureau Virginia Marriages 1855 to 1866
  • Georgia Deaths 1914 to 1927
  • Louisiana War of 1812 Pension Lists (Images)
  • North Carolina Deaths 1906 to 1930
  • North Carolina, Davidson County Marriages and Deaths, 1867-1984 (Digital Images)" South Carolina Deaths 1915 to 1943
  • South Carolina Deaths 1944 to 1955 (Index)
  • Texas Death Index 1964 to 1998 (Index)" Texas Deaths 1890 to 1976
  • Virginia Fluvanna County Funeral Home Records 1929 to 1976 (Digital Images)
  • West Virginia Births 1853 to 1990 (Index)
  • West Virginia Marriages 1853 to 1970 (Index)
  • West Virginia Deaths 1853 to 1970 (Index)

FamilySearch has also published free indexes to the 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, and 1920 (partial) U.S Censuses-all important resources for Southern states research. David E. Rencher, FamilySearch chief genealogical officer said, "This significant set of records fills a real need in Southern states research. To be able to search vital records across the South by name and locality leverages the best search techniques and greatly improves the odds of success for those researching Southern families."

During both pre and post Civil War eras, there was general migration from the eastern seaboard, down through the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, and on into Texas. "The publication of these records will begin to open up and answer many questions about family members that migrated and were never heard from again," Rencher added.

With just a few clicks, visitors can now search millions of records online for that elusive ancestor. Or pore through digital images of historic documents that before this time were inconvenient or impossible for many to access because the original documents were located in an archive somewhere in the South.

"There is much more to come," said Rencher. "FamilySearch has a large collection of records [on film] from the Southern states that still need to be digitized, indexed, and made available for the public online-and we are acquiring new records all the time. It's a great time to be a family history enthusiast," concluded Rencher.FamilySearch is currently working on federal and state censuses and birth, marriage, death, and war records. New indexing projects and searchable collections are added weekly.

About FamilySearch
FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch has been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at FamilySearch.org or through over 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries, including the renowned Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Everton's Genealogical Helper sale in the works?

DearREADERS,
Though it is possible to read about a possible Everton sale in the works from here and there throughout the internet, I was stumped for first-hand information.

Then, low and behold, Ol' Myrt here had dinner last night at "The Pit" with a group of genealogists attending the NGS National Genealogical Society Conference in Raleigh. EGH editor Leland Meitzler was part of the group, so you can imagine my delight at the chance to speak with him directly. Though Leland confided some details not able to be printed at this date, he did have a big smile on his face, and stated he was happy at some upcoming prospects.

If you are curious about the state of the sale of Everton's Genealogical Helper keep an eye out at Leland's blog:
http://www.genealogyblog.com/?p=4689

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
DearMYRTLE,
Your friend in genealogy.
Myrt@DearMYRTLE.com

Blogs:
http://blog.dearmyrtle.com
http://blog.teachgenealogy.com
http://blog.internet-genealogy.com

Podcasts:
DearMYRTLE's Family History Hour
http://podcasts.dearmyrtle.com

Family History Expos Genealogy Podcasts
http://fhexpos.libsyn.com

DearMYRTLE's Facebook® Group Message Board
http://www.new.facebook.com/board.php?uid=2960625373
© 2009 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved. This and previous blog entries are fully searchable by going to
http://blog.dearmyrtle.com/. Myrt welcomes queries and research challenges, but regrets she is unable to answer each personally.

FHConsultants: new personal assistance option

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: Each ward in the LDS Church has the opporunity to have a Family History Consultant to advise ward members about how to proceed with family history research. Apparently more assistance is now available to those consultants as indicated by this announcement. My temple district is not yet provided access to "New FamilySearch". Please address all inquiries to support@familysearch.org.

New Personal Assistance Option in the New FamilySearch Help Center

To encourage closer interaction between Church members and their family history consultants, a new personal assistance option will soon be added to the Feedback page in the Help Center in the new FamilySearch.

When this new option is available, those who select it will see contact information (typically phone number and e-mail address) for:" Family history consultant(s) in their ward or branch" Local family history center(s)" FamilySearch SupportConsultants' contact information will only be displayed to members of their own ward or branch. The displayed contact information comes from the consultant registration information you provided on the Web site at consultant.familysearch.org. This new personal assistance option will be available to members in all areas of the world that use the new FamilySearch Web site.

You may experience an increase in your opportunities to help members of your ward or branch with their family history. To enhance the support you can provide to members, you are encouraged to enroll in and complete the new FamilySearch Web site training course and other consultant courses available through the Help Center.

If you are no longer serving as a family history consultant or do not want your contact information displayed in the Help Center to your local ward or branch members, contact FamilySearch Support.

Note: Consultants who live in European countries must contact FamilySearch Support to request that their contact information be displayed in the Help Center. If they do not do this, their contact information will not be displayed.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Kith and Kin Pro 3

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from our friends at Spansoft. Please address all inquiries to Nick@spansoft.org.

10 May 2009
SpanSoft are delighted to announce the release of "Kith and Kin Pro 3", the original Windows genealogy software.


We have improved the program's unique best-selling user interface as well as adding a host of new features.

Kith and Kin Pro 3 is a genealogy software package for storing, querying and documenting family trees. It features an easy to use graphical interface and powerful data management tools which makes it ideal for large or small trees.

The Kith and Kin series is the original Windows genealogy software, started in 1993 under Windows 3.1, and now used by thousands of users in over 50 countries worldwide.

These are just some of the new features:
  • Adobe PDF file export for all reports.- Soundex and Metaphone searches. This allows the user to search for similar sounding surnames.- Soundex and Metaphone code calculator.
  • Families can be arranged into selectable "Layers". This allows the user to "grey out" all families except the ones he wants to work on.
  • Simplified Search Window. As well as powerful SQL queries, users will be able to carry out much simpler searches.
  • Several different picture records can be linked to the same image file.
  • Pictures can be arranged into an order defined by the user.
  • Pictures can be added to source references and source documents.
  • Drag and drop pictures from Windows Explorer.
  • Web page export uses a CSS stylesheet. This makes the Web pages much easier to customise.- Supplied with several pre-defined stylesheets.

Full details are on the new Kith and Kin Pro 3 Website
http://kithkinpro.spansoft.org

OneGreatFamily: "GenealogyCloud"

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from our friends at OneGreatFamily.com. Please address all inquiries to claire.labeaux@onegreatfamily.com.

New "GenealogyCloud" Brings Cloud Computing to the Family Tree

www.OneGreatFamily.com Now Provides a Family Tree Foundation Accessible to Other Applications

May 13, 2009, Springville, UT - OneGreatFamily.com is now offering "GenealogyCloud" - a full-featured API providing access to a web-based genealogy record keeping system.

OneGreatFamily has spent more than 10 years and invested approximately $10 million refining its powerful family tree engine.

For years, OneGreatFamily.com has provided family history enthusiasts with an internet-based genealogy program for building a family tree, storing memories and facts, and extending family tree branches by connecting into research that has already been done by others. This internet-based functionality has recently been termed "cloud computing," meaning that the software being accessed by end users is not housed on their own computers but in the "cloud" of the internet.

Ready-Made Family Tree Foundation Available for New Development IdeasNow, OneGreatFamily is taking cloud computing to the next step by making its functionality available to other developers working on family tree-based programs. "There are literally hundreds of developers who already are working on specific genealogy or 'family relationship' programs," said Alan Eaton, founder and CEO of OneGreatFamily.com. "But they have to devote too many resources to creating a basic family tree database before they can even start working on the new functionality or user experience that would make them unique."

"With GenealogyCloud, they can use our API to automatically generate advanced online family trees and immediately focus efforts on their desired functionality," continued Eaton.
This new cloud computing service offered by OneGreatFamily allows for rapid application development and substantially smaller software programs because the database foundation is based in the internet, not in the application program. Developers can avoid a host of costly issues including database development, testing and licenses, hardware acquisition, hosting, data storage and bandwidth, plus the staff to maintain and monitor equipment. Additionally, developers have the opportunity to generate additional revenue with an affiliate relationship with OneGreatFamily.com.

Genealogy Developers Likely to be Familiar with GenealogyCloud's API
The API for Genealogy Cloud is based on the GEDCOM 5.5 specification and is accessible using either a REST or SOAP interface. It is similar to the API published by the LDS Church for its new FamilySearch system, so systems developed to that spec can typically be easily converted to GenealogyCloud.

The GenealogyCloud API includes basic family tree functionality, like creating people, tying them together into families, GEDCOM import, and more. But it also includes unique functionality not available in any other web service. For example, with View Preservation, two users can share the same ancestor, but each sees their own unique view of that ancestor, including differing dates, places, spouses, children, parents, etc. Each can also see, accept, or ignore all the other views of that ancestor. Automated Match, Automated Merge, and Groups also deliver unique functionality.

There are many possible uses for Genealogy Cloud, ranging from genealogy functions to tracking information for medical purposes to managing information on pedigrees, and more. It is ready to be licensed and used today. Visit www.GenealogyCloud.com to review the web service documentation and see sample applications.

About OneGreatFamily.com
OneGreatFamily.com, LLC, was founded in 1999 by Alan Eaton with a vision to match and merge all of the separate family trees created by genealogists into one single unified worldwide family tree. This single family tree would remove all duplication while maintaining all differences in conclusions genealogists would draw from the research evidence. Today more than 196,000,000 individuals have been submitted to OneGreatFamily.com in family trees. OneGreatFamily also publishes Relatively Me, an application for Facebook, as well as the new GenealogyCloud. The company is privately held, based in Springville, Utah and has approximately 25 employees.

A4 binders and sheet protectors

Re: Legal-sized documents

From: caimaver@yahoo.com
DearMYRTLE,
I just saw your post about creating a binder with sheet protectors for legal-sized documents. I thought I'd add that for genealogists with lots of research from Europe, A4 is the standard size paper. This is a little longer but a little narrower than 8.5" by 11", so the ends of my documents kept sticking out of my 8.5" by 11" sheet protectors and getting bent and frayed. Since many of these documents are from Europe, they are more expensive to acquire and more difficult to replace should anything happen to them.

I finally broke down and ordered an A4 binder and a box of A4 sheet protectors from Amazon.com and I'm very glad I did! Now, after scanning these documents for filing and re-printing, I store the originals in this indexed binder where they are much better protected. My only regret is that I was unable to find a verified archival-safe A4 binder that didn't cost a mint.

Thanks for the blog post (and the reminder to keep organizing)!

DearCAI,
Thanks for the feedback. While many of Ol' Myrt's DearREADERS replied to say they are accustomed to ordering legal-sized binders, you are the first to provide a source for A4 size binders and sheet protectors. I've only just begun doing English church records research, but of course, since I am printing copies from microfilm, there is no problem getting things to fit on to an 8.5 x 11.

You know, the best part about doing this regular column is learning from my DearREADERS.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
DearMYRTLE,
Your friend in genealogy.
Myrt@DearMYRTLE.com

Blogs:
http://blog.dearmyrtle.com
http://blog.teachgenealogy.com
http://blog.internet-genealogy.com

Podcasts:
DearMYRTLE's Family History Hour
http://podcasts.dearmyrtle.com

Family History Expos Genealogy Podcasts
http://fhexpos.libsyn.com

DearMYRTLE's Facebook® Group Message Board
http://www.new.facebook.com/board.php?uid=2960625373
© 2009 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

This and previous blog entries are fully searchable by going to http://blog.dearmyrtle.com. Myrt welcomes queries and research challenges, but regrets she is unable to answer each personally.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

NGS Day One

DearREADERS,
Raleigh, North Carolina has rolled out the red carpet at the Convention Center to welcome attendees of the 2009 NGS National Genealogical Society's annual conference. Ol' Myrt here spent yesterday shadowing the exhibit hall volunteer, checking in vendors and seeing that the booth setups went smoothly. (Vendor chair will be my "job" next year when the conference is held in Salt Lake City.) Yesterday was also "Librarian's Day" with classes of particular assistance to those working with genealogists.

Today featured the opening session and a full day of classes. Noted among my travels:

1. Mark Lowe gave a presentation sponsored by the APG (Association of Professional Genealogists) titled "Making Yourself 'Priceless' in a Faux Market: A Guide for Professional Researchers". Though Ol' Myrt doesn't accept client research, it is a source of pride to see what fellow professionals are thinking when it comes to meeting and exceeding client needs.

2. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services is exhibiting with their historian Marian Smith, a department head and a staff researcher on duty to answer questions. Of particular interest is the process of requesting your ancestor's information, described in the USCIS Genealogy Program brochure. Marian reminds Ol' Myrt that the naturalization file number is different from the naturalization certificate number. The USCIS Genealogy Program offers two services:

Index Search: Using biographical information provided by the researcher, USCIS searches its historical immigration and naturalization record indices for citations related to a specific immigrant. Search results (record citations) are returned to the researcher, along with instructions on how to request the file(s) from USCIS or the National Archives. Fee: $20.00.

Record Copy Request: Researchers with valid record citations (USCIS file numbers), gained through a USCIS Genealogy Program index search or through independent research, may request copies of historical immigration and naturalization records. Fee: $20.00/$35.00 (depending on the record type).

Records available through the USCIS Genealogy Program:
  • Naturalization Certificate Files (C-files) from September 27, 1906 to April 1, 1956
  • Alien Registration Forms from August 1, 1940 to March 31, 1944
  • Visa files from July 1, 1924 to March 31, 1944
  • Registry Files from March 2, 1929 to March 31, 1944
  • Alien Files (A-files) numbered below 8 million (A8000000) and documents therein dated prior to May 1, 1951

3. Kathy Meade of www.Genline.com showed options for those with Swedish ancestors. The site offers over 17.074.666 images (approximately 33,800,000 pages) in the Swedish Church Records archive. Genline now offers both low and high resolution versions of scanned images of original documents. This reflects the change since 2000 among users who now more typically enjoy high speed internet connections.

Just released today is the ability to TRANSCRIBE a portion of a Genline scanned image with the following options:

  • You specify the portion by dragging your mouse to create a box around the text in question.
  • A fill-in-the-blank screen pops up with data fields corresponding to the type of record you are viewing at the time.
  • Searchability of transcribed text.
  • Others may proof your transcription, giving it a higher likelihood of accuracy. Many hands do make light work.

Kathy also explained that 38% of the Household Examinations are currently indexed, with an anticipated 98% completion rate by the end of the year.

4. Sadly, FamillySearch and FamilyLink.com are not yet releasing the much anticipated new version of the Family History Library Catalog. Ol' Myrt here had hoped this would be released in time for the NGS Conference. This means that when I meet with you DearREADERS in Southern California in late June, we will be discussing some of the quirky things about the current catalog.

5. Dick Eastman has his wireless set up at the Footnote.com booth and when Ol' Myrt saw him last he was selecting the restaurant for meeting with his loyal readers.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
DearMYRTLE,
Your friend in genealogy.
Myrt@DearMYRTLE.com

Blogs:
http://blog.dearmyrtle.com
http://blog.teachgenealogy.com
http://blog.internet-genealogy.com

Podcasts:
DearMYRTLE's Family History Hour
http://podcasts.dearmyrtle.com
Family History Expos Genealogy Podcasts
http://fhexpos.libsyn.com


DearMYRTLE's Facebook® Group Message Board
http://www.new.facebook.com/board.php?uid=2960625373
© 2009 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved. This and previous blog entries are fully searchable by going to
http://blog.dearmyrtle.com/. Myrt welcomes queries and research challenges, but regrets she is unable to answer each personally. Happy family tree climbing!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

LiveRoots.com: saving time for online researchers

DearREADERS,
As we set up booths in the NGS 2009 Conference exhibit hall Tuesday, who should stop by to check in but my SL (Second Life) friend Constantine, who in RL (Real Life) is the mastermind behind GenealogyToday.com and LiveRoots.com. In fact, we had dinner together earlier this evening at an Irish pub here in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photos to follow.)

Illya has been making life easier for online genealogists by providing a centralized spot (LiveRoots) for searching other genealogy websites -- with a search engine that often works better than the search engines provided at those other genealogy sites.

OK... how does this work?

Basically you search for an ancestor by name at LiveRoots. Then instead of clicking all over the internet in search of your ancestors, you let the LiveRoots search engine do the work for you. Then work through the resulting hit list to find your ancestor. LiveRoots is available:
  • at www.liveroots.com
  • in Second Life as a HUD, making it easy to copy/paste your results to the SL screen when talking with other genealogists.
  • as a Facebook application
  • as a Google application
Most recently Illya added the Family History Library Catalog to the search at LiveRoots. Way to go, Illya.

Visit him in booth #110 at the Raleigh Convention Center the 13-16 May 2009. Tell him Ol' Myrt sent ya.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
DearMYRTLE,
Your friend in genealogy.
Myrt@DearMYRTLE.com

Blogs:
http://blog.dearmyrtle.com
http://blog.teachgenealogy.com
http://blog.internet-genealogy.com

Podcasts:
DearMYRTLE's Family History Hour
http://podcasts.dearmyrtle.com

Family History Expos Genealogy Podcasts
http://fhexpos.libsyn.com

DearMYRTLE's Facebook® Group Message Board
http://www.new.facebook.com/board.php?uid=2960625373
© 2009 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.
This and previous blog entries are fully searchable by going to
http://blog.dearmyrtle.com/. Myrt welcomes queries and research challenges, but regrets she is unable to answer each personally.

Legal-sized documents

From: Bev
DearMYRTLE,
Thank you so much for your blog and wonderful "Finally Get Organized Checklists". I love researching my family history, but the organization always bogs me down, frustrates me. It gets to a point where I can't deal with it.

My question is how do you handle over sized documents in your binders? Many of the estate papers I've collected are on legal size paper and I'm not sure how to put them in the archival sleeves. Thanks for your help!

DearBEV,
Never give up, kiddo. You are NOT powerless over paperwork. Ol' Myrt here also has several important files that are legal-sized. Indeed, one may purchase legal sized binders and page protectors at any local office supply stores, though admittedly these are more expensive than the usual 8.5 x 11 inch. What I've done is create binders for each of my Union Civil War pensioners, since the files are big enough to fill a typical binder.

Back in the 1980s, Ol' Myrt's census record research was done when only those over sized 11 x 17 inch wet paper copies were available. At that time, I folded the copy before placing it in a regular page protector and binder. For those of you following the May 2009 checklist, scanning such larger documents will be difficult, but not impossible because the usual home office scanner is legal size at most. Rather than attempt to scan both sides of these larger pages and combining them using PaintShop Pro or Photoshop Elements, it is easier for me to obtain a new digital copy of these census pages from Ancestry.com than it is to

For less important legal sheets, how about using the reducing capability of your scanner/printer/copier to create smaller version of the document. This should work out fine except where the original has extremely small font, such as a newspaper column that runs the length of the page.

By the way, Ol' Myrt here learned the concept of using standard 8.5 x 11 inch paper from Bill Dollarhide. He recommended we stop writing quick research notes on the back of an envelope or a sticky note. See Bill's Managing a Genealogical Project available from our friends at Genealogical Publishing.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
DearMYRTLE,
Your friend in genealogy.
Myrt@DearMYRTLE.com

Blogs:
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© 2009 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.
This and previous blog entries are fully searchable by going to
http://blog.dearmyrtle.com/. Myrt welcomes queries and research challenges, but regrets she is unable to answer each personally.

Monday, May 11, 2009

FamilySearchIndexing.org: 11 May 2009 update

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was received from our friends at FamilySearch.org. Please address all inquiries to support@FamilySearch.org.

11 May 2009
Overview

Diligent FamilySearch indexers made quick work of the New York 1892 and the Rhode Island 1925 State Censuses. Those projects are now complete and will be prepped for publishing online.

New indexing projects added this week are:
  • Austria, Wiener Meldezettel " Germany, Mecklenburg 1890 Volkszählung, Div 24-38" Indiana, Adams County Marriages, 1811-1959
  • Indiana, Allen County Marriages, 1811-1959" Mississippi-1920 U.S. Federal Census
  • New York 1905 State Census" UK, Warwickshire Parish Registers, 1538-Present

Recently Completed Projects
Note: Recently completed projects have been removed from the available online indexing batches and will now go through a final completion check process in preparation for future publication.

  • Montana-1920 U.S. Federal Census
  • Nebraska-1920 U.S. Federal Census
  • New York 1892 State Census" Rhode Island 1925 State Census

Current FamilySearch Indexing Projects, Record Language, and Percent Completion

  • Argentina, Buenos Aires 1855 Census Spanish 23%
  • Argentina Censo 1869-Catamarca y La Rioja Spanish 91%
  • Argentina Censo 1869-Corrientes y Entre Rios Spanish 69%
  • Arkansas County Marriages V, 1837-1957 English 74%
  • Arkansas County Marriages VI, 1837-1957 English 13%
  • Austria, Wiener Meldezettel German (New)Belgium, Antwerp Foreigners Index, 1840-1930 Dutch, Flemish 34%
  • Brandenburg Kirchenbücher, 1789-1875 German 57%*
  • France, Coutances, Paroisses de la Manche, 1792-1906 French 9%
  • Germany, Mecklenburg 1890 Volkszählung, Div 24-38 German (New)Illinois, Cook County Birth Certificates, 1916-1922 [Part 1] English 67%
  • Indiana, Adams County Marriages, 1811-1959 English (New)
  • Indiana, Allen County Marriages, 1811-1959 English (New)
  • Italy, Trento Baptism Records, 1784-1924 Italian 70%
  • Mexico, Censo de 1930-Sinaloa Spanish 67%Mexico, Censo de 1930-Tamaulipas Spanish 38%
  • Mexico, Censo de 1930-Yucatan Spanish 8%
  • Minnesota-1920 U.S. Federal Census English 48%
  • Mississippi-1920 U.S. Federal Census English (New)
  • New York 1905 State Census English (New)
  • Nicaragua, Managua Civil Records, 1879-Present Spanish 40%*
  • Peru, Lima-Registros Civiles, 1910-1930 Spanish 22%
  • Russia, St Petersburg Kirchenbuchduplikat, 1833-1885 German 1%
  • Spain, Avila, Moraleja de Matacabras, 1540-1904 Spanish 9%
  • Spain, Lugo-Registros Parroquiales [Part 1], 1530-1930 Spanish 17%
  • U.K., Cheshire-Land Tax, 1778-1832 English 83%
  • U.K., Warwickshire Parish Registers, 1538-Present English (New)
  • Ukraine, Kyiv, 1840-1842 Russian 15%Venezuela, Mérida Registros Parroquiales. 1654-1992 Spanish 10%*

    *Percentage refers to a specific portion of a larger project.

Current FamilySearch Partner Projects, Record Language, and Percent Completion

  • Arkansas Marriages IV, 1837-1957 English 28%
  • Belgique-Registres Des Décès (Français), 1796-1910 French 21%*
  • België-Overlijdens Registers-Charleroi, 1851-1900 Dutch, Flemish 17%
  • België-Overlijdens Registers-In het Nederlands, 1796-1910 Dutch, Flemish 80%*
  • België-Overlijdens Registers-Kalmthout, 1851-1900 Dutch, Flemish 15%
  • België-Overlijdens Registers-Mechelen, 1851-1900 Dutch, Flemish 2%
  • Bremer Schifflisten, 1904-1914 German 50%Flanders Death Registration, 1796-1900 French, Dutch, Flemish 78%*
  • Indiana Marriages, 1882 to April 1905 English 87%
  • Norway 1875 Census [Part 1] Norwegian 27%
  • Nova Scotia, Antigonish Church Records, 1823-1905 English 78%
  • Ohio Tax Records-2 of 4, Post 1825 English 76%
  • Vermont Militia Records, 1861-1867 English 39%

    *Percentage refers to a specific portion of a larger project.

Current FamilySearch Regional Projects, Record Language, and Percent Completion

These projects are being indexed by volunteers in specific areas of the world.

  • Australia, Sydney Cemetery Inscriptions, 1800-1960 English 3%
  • Australia-Victoria Probate Records, 1853-1989 English 61%
  • Canada, British Columbia Marriages, 1859-1932 English 3%
  • Quebec-Trois-Rivières IC, 1800-1900 French 44%

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Training webinars open to FHC Directors & Consultants

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from our friends at OhanaSoftware. com. Please direct all inquiries to webinars@ohanasoftware.com .

Registration for free training webinars is now open to all family history consultants and directors. These webinars are meant to help family history centers thrive as consultants learn about the new technologies and resources available to them. There will be a new calendar of webinars available at the beginning of each month.

The following Family History Center Training Webinars are now open for registration:

Syncing PAF files with FamilySearch™ using FamilyInsight:
Monday, May 11th 9:30-10:30am MDT
Thursday, May 21st 6:00-7:00pm MDT

Collaboration Clean-Up
Saturday, May 16th 10:00-11:00am MDT

How to Light a Fire Under Your Ward
Tuesday, May 26th 7:00-8:00pm MDT

Click here for current webinar information and registration

When possible, directors are invited to share these webinars via projection screen for their family history center staff. Consultants may also join webinars from a home computer equipped with audio. A microphone or long distance phone connection will be required to participate in the live question and answer session following each presentation. Webinars will be 40-60 minutes in length. Webinars will also be recorded and archived to allow viewing for those who are unable to attend them live.

To subscribe to a monthly calendar of webinars, follow the above link and fill out the form at the bottom of the page.

If you would like to schedule a special webinar for a group of 40 or more, you will need to e-mail webinars@ohanasoftware.com at least one month in advance. Please include the date & time (No Sundays), an estimated number of attendees, and the desired topic.

David E. Rencher Named FamilySearch CGO

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from our friends at FamilySearch.org. Please address all inquiries to support@familysearch.org.

David E. Rencher Named FamilySearch Chief Genealogical Officer

SALT LAKE CITY-FamilySearch today named David E. Rencher Chief Genealogical Officer (CGO). He will have responsibility to help FamilySearch align strategic business decisions with needs and demands of genealogy-related markets. Rencher is a 28-year veteran of FamilySearch and a popular leader in genealogy and archive circles. He has held leadership positions with several national organizations, is a professional genealogist, and is in great demand as a keynote speaker. In addition to his new role as the CGO, Rencher will continue to direct FamilySearch's collection development activities.

FamilySearch is a growing, worldwide organization focused on providing quicker and more affordable access to genealogical records. The chief genealogical officer helps ensure various efforts in the genealogy community are connecting with FamilySearch's efforts and that FamilySearch continues to grow in genealogical understanding and depth as an organization.

"We are pleased to place David's talents in this key role," said Jay Verkler, chief executive officer of FamilySearch. "David will provide a public face for FamilySearch to communities it serves and be a representative voice for the genealogical market, products, and services," continued Verkler. Given his deep experience and strong industry relationships, Rencher will serve as a liaison to key industry communities and associations worldwide. Rencher and his organization will also provide input on third-party affiliation opportunities and related marketing initiatives, and he will help build an open FamilySearch environment.

"I'm hopeful that the new CGO position can provide a genealogical perspective to our products and services and ensure that we adhere to fundamental principles that are genealogically sound. The genealogical community looks to us to provide that kind of leadership, and in turn, this is a significant benefit to FamilySearch patrons because it ensures that what we do contributes to the accuracy of linking families together," said David Rencher, CGO for FamilySearch.

During his career at FamilySearch, David has been instrumental in the development of key services and databases. He has worked to ensure that patrons of family history centers had more timely delivery of microfilm, and he has extended microfilm circulation to public libraries. He initiated the book scanning program for the Family History Library collection, and he was instrumental in the production of the automated indexes for the Social Security Death records, the 1880 U.S. Census, the 1881 British Census, and the military casualty files for Korea and Vietnam. He spent a number of years aligning the standards FamilySearch uses for names and localities and worked on record-matching techniques for FamilySearch databases.

Rencher is an Accredited GenealogistCM with ICAPGenSM in Ireland research and a Certified GenealogistSM with the Board for Certification of Genealogists®. He holds a BA in Family and Local History from Brigham Young University. He served as president of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) from 1997 to 2000 and the Utah Genealogical Association (UGA) from 1993 to 1995. He is a Fellow of the UGA and the Irish Genealogical Research Society, London. He is currently serving as the chair of the joint Federation of Genealogical Societies and National Genealogical Society committee for Record Preservation and Access and serves as a director for the National Institute of Genealogical Research Alumni Association (NIGRAA). He will continue to serve as the vice president of the Genealogical Society of Utah (GSU) and the director of the Planning and Coordination Division of FamilySearch.

About FamilySearch
FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch has been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at FamilySearch.org or through over 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries, including the renowned Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.